This is a becoming a routine that Astros fans are growing accustomed to: Walk-off's. The one that ended the game today was the fourth in eight days, Castro's second this month and the Astros league leading seventh this year. The 'Minute Maid Magic' couldn't have happened without a great start from returning starter, rookie RHP Lance McCullers. McCullers, who was matched up with reigning NL Cy Young winner, Clayton Kershaw, had a great return. McCullers left after 7 innings allowing eight hits, two ER, walking none and striking out eight. While, most games that'd be enough for a lead, today it wasn't. Kershaw who is also returning, in sorts, also was great. The Texas native, Kershaw, returned home to throw 8 innings allowing only one run and striking out ten. The only thing he didn't do was the Dodgers biggest problem: Throw in the ninth inning. The ninth inning was the beginning of the end for the Dodgers. After squandering an opportunity in the top of the inning with two on and one out, they didn't do anything easy on the eyes (for Dodger fans) in the bottom of the frame either. After allowing a lead-off single by Carlos Correa they watched him swipe second, after picking up another out it was Marwin's moment to shine. As Marwin Gonzalez walks up, two outs, Blessings by Big Sean over the speakers, no one knew that he was about to deliver a blessing.
The Extra innings were action packed - no doubt about that - and the action started early. A.J. Ellis started it off with a leadoff single but on the right arm of Luke Gregerson and three straight outs, that opportunity was smashed. After a strikeout by Jake Marisnick, Jason Castro made sure the only thing smashed, was the ball. On a 2-0 count, Jason Castro used the Crawford Boxes to his advantage, waiting back and putting the nail in the coffin. After hitting it, rounding the bases and celebrating the call was under review. The review didn't take long (baseball time) to see hat Castro did indeed give the fans a chance for a souvenir (ball was dropped). The Astros finished their celebration (if it ever really stops) and headed back to Club Astro.
Moments That Mattered, More
- In the sixth inning, when Carlos Gomez tried to pull a fast one, or should I say, a not so fast one on Kershaw, and was thrown out trying to steal home. If Gattis would've managed a hit there, the game would've been tied, or more, and well, who really knows what would've, could've or should've happened.
- Vincent Velasquez's return happened at the right time. In the top of he ninth, needing to get two outs before the dodgers got a hit, and that he did. He got Yasiel Puig looking and Carl Crawford to fly out finishing his work.
- Most would say Marwin Gonzalez's best moment was tying the game, and their argument is more than fair but what he did in the second was pretty huge too. As Andre Either was trying to stretch a single into a double, throwing him out at second was huge. The single by Either was followed by what would've been an RBI single by Yasiel Puig. That, in effect, would've put the Astros in a 2-0 hole after the second instead of 1-0.
- The Astros winning. It's that simple, the Astros winning was a huge moment. They keep their lead on the Rangers, gain on the Angels and go to New York on a high note, confidence wise. The Astros will send out Scott Feldman (5-5, 4.05 ERA) to face Nathan Eovaldi (13-2, 4.24 ERA). While, Eovaldi's numbers look great, don't let them fool you. He ranks in the top of the 'Run support per game' stat as the Yankee's normally plate 7+ runs per start. If the Astros want to get their sixth win in their last seven, Feldman will need to put out the fire, which are the Yankee's bats. If the Yankee's bats do get hot, the only smoke the Astros will be seeing won't be in Club Astro.